Sunday, 27 November 2016

Ring-tailed Possum



This cute critter is a Ring-tailed Possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus, one of Australia's famous marsupials. We were careful not to take too many photos or shine the spotlight directly on it for too long. It takes thirty minutes to an hour for a nocturnal animal to regain full vision after being flashed, during which time they are very vulnerable to predation by introduced foxes, dogs or cats. In addition, being flashed may mean they not be able to see to feed effectively for a while.

The scientific name means 'false hand pilgrim'. Weighing as much as a kilo, they are vegetarian, eating the leaves, fruit and flowers of plants in the Myrtle family (which includes eucalypts and tea-tree). Like rabbits, they maximise their nutritional intake by reingesting their own fecal matter. They are not uncommonly encountered anywhere up the east coast of Australia, in dense temperate or tropical forest, and are the Australian equivalent of lemurs, monkeys or squirrels. The white patches near the eyes, white belly and tail tip are typical of the species.

Ring-tailed Possums are social arboreal animals and build dreys in the trees to spend the day asleep in family groups. Young possums travel around with their mother, either in her pouch or clinging to her back.

Our posts on Sundays have an Australian theme. To see more of them click here.

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A la cuisine hier: I cooked up a batch of blackberries (wild, from the freezer) and apples and left them in the jelly bag to drain overnight. I've run the pulp through the food mill to yield a puree that can be used in sauce and on muesli, etc. The juice has been combined with white currant juice (from Colin and Elizabeth's frozen stash) and sugar to steep before making jelly.

Simon's spicy dhal from the freezer and plain boiled rice. We didn't have any chutney to serve with it, which was a shame.

Spicy ginger biscuits from the freezer.

Chicken stock, with chicken carcasses from the freezer, celery stalks and leaves, carrots, leeks, bay leaves and peppercorns, simmered for four hours on the wood stove. Now I have to strain it, pick all the meat off the carcasses and make chicken noodle soup.

Hazelnut cracking has started. Boy is that a tedious job, but I wanted to make some muesli, so I needed hazelnuts. Also mixed rolled cereals, sultanas, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried apricots. All mixed together and put in a large jar.

An orientalish pork and rice noodle soup. I marinated a piece of rolled pork loin in pineapple juice with soy sauce, a bit of fish sauce, wedges of baby cabbage, slices of carrot, wedges of onion, some five spice and some salt and Asian spices mix. Then I added some light stock and simmered for two hours on the wood stove. To serve I put some soaked rice noodles in the base of a bowl, then thick slices of pork then ladled over the vegetables and liquid. It turned out very well and was rated pretty good by Simon (he was unimpressed to discover that what he thought was a third piece of meat was actually a wedge of cabbage). Soy sauce has a tendency to make everything look the same.

Leftover pineapple custard.

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